The net worth of a successor corporation is relevant to the issue of punitive damages, even though the alleged outrageous conduct was performed by a predecessor, a northeastern Pennsylvania judge has ruled in an issue of first impression.

In a 138-page opinion in Busy Bee Inc. v. Wachovia Bank, PICS Case No. 06-0339 (C.P. Lackawanna 2006) Nealon, J. (138 pages), Lackawanna County Common Pleas Judge Terrence R. Nealon said that he would allow evidence of Wachovia Bank’s present wealth in a case on punitive damages — not the wealth of CoreStates Bank, the smaller regional bank that allegedly engaged in the outrageous conduct.